Saturday/ the disaster alert is itself a disaster

The emergency alert that was sent out to cell phones, radio broadcasts, and TV transmissions.

At 8.10 am on Saturday, more than a million Hawaiians were jolted with an ominous text message: ‘Ballistic missile threat inbound, seek immediate shelter’.

The message was generated by accident by someone during the shift change-over at the Hawaii Emergency Response Management Agency.   It took 38 minutes to send a correction text.   Governor David Ige announced later that the early warning system was suspended ‘until further notice’, and that the procedure will be changed to require two people to activate the alert*.  The White House shrugged.  ‘Merely a state exercise’ said deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters, and that President Trump had been informed.

*It’s just mind-boggling that this was not done to start with – and quite incredulous that the designers of the system’s messaging had created no follow-up options of ‘Cancel Alert’ or ‘Threat Over’ or ‘Safe Now’.

Sunday morning: Front Page of the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

 

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